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7 Tips for a Successful Online Presentation

Written by CB Community

Given today’s persistent pandemic, virtual meet-ups and presentations are the new norm, even for college students.

Challenges faced by both in-person and virtual presentations are similar – it is not easy to sustain your audience’s attention over some time.

However, for online presentations, other factors come into play, such as more points of failure regarding technology and seemingly endless distractions (your audience has a higher chance of going astray).

In truth, online presentation demands a different approach. What does it take to give a successful online presentation?

1. Use the Right Tools

The objective of your presentation determines the approach you take, which ultimately decides the type of tools you will use.

There are many tools available in the market that help with online presentations. You can stick to one or use a combination to enhance your presentation.

The go-to tool is Microsoft PowerPoint. There are tons of pre-built templates that can get your slides up and ready almost immediately.

However, certain limitations may push you to look elsewhere for the additional interactivity features you need.

That said, many rely on PowerPoint for their slides and utilize video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Google Meet to share and perform their presentations.

2. Keep Your Slides Simple

The biggest mistake you can make is to stuff words and too many points in a slide. Your challenge is to keep your audience engaged in your presentation, so the last thing you want is to confuse and overwhelm your audience.

So, focus on a point, and other arguments throughout the slides reinforce this point.

Hence, you may need to break up the presentation into several sessions to make it more effective.

Having your online presentation short helps retain their attention. After all, humans have a short attention span.

Use minimal text and ensure your content is to the point and well-structured so that your presentation is easy to follow.

On another note, there are grammar checker tools to ensure your slides are grammatically correct.

Many tend to ignore checking their grammar, but this is an area you cannot afford to overlook as being grammatically correct reflects on you and your professionalism.

3. Use Visuals

People are visual. As such, incorporate visuals into your slides as they have the human-appealing element that sticks to people’s minds.

Your audience can process and understand them faster. For example, explaining figures using a pie chart is more effective than with words alone.

Use videos and animations to complement your presentation, as they help stimulate the audience. Keep your visuals simple otherwise, they can backfire and turn off your audience.

Remember, illustrations and visuals are to break the monotony and help engage your participants.

Regardless of what you want to achieve, the Cloud makes the best software accessible for all platforms – mac, Windows, or otherwise.

4. Ensure the Environment is Conducive

Many take for granted the presentation’s environment and getting it right. If there’s a window behind you, ensure the blinds are closed.

You must have enough front light on your face so people can comfortably see you. If you prefer to use a background, search for one that is not cluttered and too distracting.

Also, remember to use one that adds to your professional image.

Be familiar with the technology that you’re using. Nothing kills a person’s interest more than witnessing you fumbling with the technology.

After all, presenting online is typically a performance, so know your tools. Have several dry runs to help you familiarize yourself with everything.

It is best to plug directly into your modem using an Ethernet cable; this gives you a stronger internet connection than relying on your Wi-Fi.

Also, check any of your Bluetooth devices. The last thing you want is an intermittent connection that causes you to drop in and out of your presentation session.

5. Practise and Practise

The success of your online presentation highly depends on how you carry yourself during the presentation. Hence, keep practicing until your heart’s content.

Play to the camera by staying close enough to it. You want the camera to frame you fully. Look directly into the camera when you speak.

You want the viewer(s) to feel you are looking directly at them. Hence, be mindful of your positioning and distance to simulate a virtual engaging effect.

You can choose to be somewhat animated and energetic. However, remember to pace yourself. Don’t rush and be too pumped up.

That said, you should not slow down too much. There is a fine line between being too slow and talking too fast, so strike that middle ground.

Also, make sure your audio is loud and clear. Try doing the presentation with someone on the other end and confirm if your audio is emitting loud and clear.

Ensure your sound quality is top-notch; if your audience cannot hear you clearly, they will leave.

It is best to engage an assistant to look into the chat for anything that demands your attention or possible spelling mistakes you may have overlooked when typing in the chat.

It can be very distracting and disruptive when you simultaneously handle the chat session and your presentation.

6. Set the Ground Rules

You may be doing everything right on your part, but if others don’t, your online presentation is a failure at the end of the day.

However, if everyone plays their part, this can contribute to the success of the online presentation.

As such, clarify any expectations and set the ground rules from the get-go. Your participants deserve to know what is expected of them and how to interact during the presentation.

For example, all mics must be mute while you are speaking. You do not want any distracting noises.

Also, if anyone wishes to speak, use the hand gesture before unmuting to speak.

Cameras should be on to help establish that connection with the audience. These are simple online etiquettes to ensure a disruption-free session.

7. Engage and Connect With the Audience

Speaking during a presentation is expected, but if you alone speak non-stop with no other participating at all, your audience will not feel connected and involved.

To make things worse, since people have a short attention span, they will drift off and not pay attention.

The number one rule in any presentation is to engage and connect with your audience to make the session effective and memorable.

Include interactive elements in your presentation in short intervals – questions, polls, and fun quizzes are quick ways of encouraging your audience to be part of the presentation.

Know your audience’s names and interact personally with them by calling them by names; this shows that you are sincere and care for them individually. Your audience’s attention will not waver.

Some consider using an online whiteboard to sketch the idea, for example, discussing the web development trends and inviting the participants in real-time for their input (you will need a collaboration tool).

Your objective is to create meaningful discussions and build a good rapport with your audience.

Wrapping Up

Doing an online presentation need not be nerve-wracking. We hope the five tips above have encouraged you to carry out your online presentation confidently and successfully.

Ensure you follow the tips above with the right tools, and you will see your online presentations become more effective by making a positive impact.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.